From Chaos to Clicks: How we’ve leveraged Low-code & No-code setup to empower Citizen Developers

Streamlining operations with Citizen Developers

The challenge

Citizen developers stand at the intersection of a great divide between business and IT in the software development world. A battleground – for want of a better expression – for control over tech strategy and execution, where Business wants to do more tech, but IT wants that to be executed by the IT function. How to bridge this gap, and activate employees from the factory floor to the boardroom?

It is a complicated picture for global enterprises, encumbered with legacy technology, as they continue on the everlasting treadmill of technological transformation. It is no mean feat to straighten out this chaos in a way that enables the organization to simplify, unify, and transform at the same time.

This is the challenge that faced our client.  As a household name synonymous with everyday essentials, our client makes products that can be relied upon for quality and consistency. Their operations, however, were not so solid. Traditional paper-based workflows and manual data entry were creating bottlenecks, and errors and inefficiencies drained momentum at every turn. Who best to fix the problem? The people closest to the process. What they needed was a way to engage factory workers so that they not only embrace new technology, but are actively involved in developing the solutions themselves.

The symptoms

  • Errors and delays: Inaccurate and time-consuming manual data entry resulted in input errors, inconsistencies, and hampered timely decision-making. Training and staff churn added further to the problem
  • Limited visibility: Lack of real-time data visibility into on-site operations made it difficult to identify and address potential issues proactively.
  • Compliance challenges: Managing regulatory compliance across a global network with paper-based systems was cumbersome and resource-intensive.
  • Safety concerns: Inefficient communication and reporting around safety protocols increased the risk of incidents.

Our client needed a solution that could empower employees, streamline workflows, and provide greater control over their complex operations. They needed a way for IT to control the ecosystem, but allow end users – often non-technical people on the factory floor – the ability to define, and self-serve the solution.

The solution

Portera recognized the potential of Microsoft Power Apps to address these challenges. We partnered with Microsoft and our client to implement a comprehensive Citizen Developers strategy, leveraging the power of Power Apps to unlock the potential within their workforce. By bringing a Citizen Developers philosophy to the business, we were able to architect an approach where IT control, Business drives, and non-technical workers execute. It empowers non-IT-trained employees to quickly build custom business applications using cloud-based low-code and no-code development platforms.



For this use case, our approach involved:

  • Building a Citizen Developer Center of Excellence (CoE): We established a CoE equipped with industry-specific Power Apps templates, best practices, and training programs.
  • Identifying Key Areas of Improvement: Through workshops and collaboration, we pinpointed critical areas where Power Apps could deliver the most significant impact, like inventory management, compliance tracking, maintenance requests, and regulatory reporting.
  • Empowering Employees: Implementing integrated and effective change management empowered employees across different departments, including plant operations, IT, and compliance. Teams were trained and equipped with the skills needed to become Citizen developers.
  • Guided Development and Support: Portera provided ongoing support and guidance throughout the development process, ensuring Citizen developers had the resources to build robust and secure applications.
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Measurable impact from the factory floor to the boardroom

Across People, Processes, and Platforms, the change was significant. We saw gains in efficiency, cost savings, improved safety standards, and business culture (around the adoption of data and technology). Taking these in turn:

Increased Efficiency:

  • 40% Reduction in Data Entry Errors: Power Apps automated tedious data collection, leading to significant improvements in data accuracy and consistency.
  • Real-time Visibility: Mobile dashboards provide instant access to critical operational data, allowing for faster and more informed decision-making.
  • Streamlined Workflows: Custom applications replaced paper-based processes, reducing manual tasks and freeing up valuable time for employees.

Cost Savings:

  • Reduced Administrative Costs: Automating manual tasks and eliminating paper-based processes resulted in significant cost savings.
  • Improved Resource Utilization: Streamlined workflows and increased efficiency allowed employees to focus on higher-value activities.

Heightened Safety Standards:

  • Improved Communication: Citizen-developed apps facilitated seamless communication between plant personnel and safety officers, ensuring real-time adherence to safety protocols.
  • Enhanced Reporting: Efficient incident reporting through Power Apps allowed our client to identify and address safety concerns proactively.
  • Preventative Maintenance: Maintenance request applications ensured timely equipment upkeep, minimizing the risk of breakdowns and potential safety hazards.

A Sustainable Culture of Innovation

By empowering its employees with Citizen Developers, our client has fostered a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. Citizen developers are now actively involved in identifying and solving operational challenges, driving efficiency and cost savings from the ground up.

The Portera Advantage: Your Partner in Citizen Development Success

At Portera, we can help you unlock the potential within your workforce, just like we did with this client. With our proven approach, industry-specific expertise, and pre-built assets, you can streamline operations, improve visibility, and achieve your business goals faster.

Ready to unleash the power of Citizen Developer ecosystem and mindset in your organization? Let’s discuss how Portera can tailor a solution to meet your specific needs and empower your workforce to drive innovation and success.

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